George Westinghouse was born on October 6, 1846, in Central Bridge, New York, to George and Emmeline Westinghouse.
(REIS) George was the eighth of 10 children.
Interestingly, he was named George Westinghouse, Jr., after his father. He was never really a good student in school.
He always had trouble applying himself to coursework that he didn’t think had immediate benefit.
Later in life, he was to say that the very best educational experience he had was the ability to work in his father’s shops.
His father owned a company called the G. Westinghouse and Company. Manufactured agriculture equipment and small steam engines.
And he loved to make things and build things. He built a working waterwheel one time, a model. He built a working steam motorboat that he was able to use. He even made a violin.
￼So he developed these early mechanical skills, and, later in life, he was to say those early mechanical skills he learned as a young boy served him well throughout his lifetime.
George Westinghouse, as a child, he’d probably be considered today a problem child. He seemed to be bored with school. He loved mechanics. He loved to come back and work in his dad’s shop.
George spent most of his boyhood in Schenectady, New York.
He would be known as George Westinghouse, Jr. for many years until his father died, at which time he dropped
the “Jr.” from his name. Interestingly, everything that’s written indicates that George Westinghouse did not get a lot of encouragement from his father.
But he did get quite a bit of encouragement from his mother. The local minister encouraged him quite a bit. And we know that one foreman in his father’s shops really provided George Westinghouse with a great bit of encouragement. He set aside an area in the factory for him to work. He showed him how to use the various machines and materials to make items. Obviously, this had a major impact on George Westinghouse throughout his lifetime.
It was recorded that he always felt more comfortable in his father’s shops than he did at school. In 1860, at 13 years of age, George began to work there for 50 cents a day. Even as a boy, it was clear that he possessed a unique talent for understanding and working with machines.
One story about George Westinghouse as a young boy was that he was in a scouting group that was planning to take a hike one afternoon. His father had given him a chore to cut some pipe, and that chore was certainly going to take longer than that day.
However, George rigged up a machine with a saw blade, and he was able to cut all that pipe in a half a day, and he was able to go on the hike. From what was documented, it was said that George Westinghouse, Sr. was not at all happy.
Even though George Westinghouse was able to accomplish the task in a very short period of time, he wasn’t happy at what had motivated him to do that.